Hook Shots Season Finale: Stone-Cold Michigan Steel

Having chased steelhead from New York through Ohio, and a bit on the West Coast, I've been aware for a long time that I've totally neglected the middle; Michigan. That's not because of a lack of love for the Wolverine State, I'd just yet to find the time to make it happen. The final boot to the backside came this summer from my buddy Nick Raftas, who makes a pilgrimage to the world-famous Pere Marquette every season and insisted that my time had come. I've got a steel jones, so he didn't have to push too hard. The appeal of Michigan, as it was explained to me, is that there is more water, lots of fish, and once the salmon run is over, the competition is nil. So, for one last hurrah this season, we flew out, bought a case of PBR and various unhealthy snack foods, and set up camp in the little town of Baldwin. For three days we rubbed elbows with two of the best men of steel in the area. Fly guide Kevin Morlock taught us that if you're going to freeze your a** off for chrome, don't be all prim and proper about your outfit. Tie on some lead, then tie on some more lead, chuck, duck, set the hook. Young gun Lance Keene on the Manistee proved that the nastier the wind chill, the better the bite on a pin rig. There were ups, downs, soggy base layers, and blue fingernails, but when you're tied into steel, none of that matters. Nothing like closing with a little endurace test! As always, thanks so much for watching "Hook Shots" this season. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Look for the next season to kick in early '15 (which will be here before we know it). Enjoy the show.